She said they wanted to clear their heads so they decided to walk around the block. Nobody said a word.  It was so quiet you could hear a croquet ball drop onto the grass.  

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June stood next to her husband her arm wrapped around his waist her head against his rib cage.  He was so much bigger than she.  She looked up at him like she wanted to give him a kiss.  He stared down at her, the corners of his mouth turned up with a sullen almost depressed look on his face. 

My dad stood behind my mom his hands on her shoulders kneading the space between her shoulder and neck smiling like nothing happened.  There was tension in the air.  I could feel it, even as a kid.  Within minutes everyone popped back into their old selves and said good bye.  I rode my bike home in the dark.  

That night after midnight, I heard them arguing outside.  The air vibrated with tension.  Their voices dry and rough like two pieces of sand paper rubbed together.  

Curious,  I crept into the kitchen.  I slowly opened the sliding glass door leading into the screened in porch.  Fifteen or twenty feet beyond the porch next to a huge elm tree in the back yard they were having a heated discussion. 

My mom was growling louder and louder, getting more hysterical by the second sounding like she’d lose control, break through the sound barrier and start screaming at my him. 

He whispered loudly … a hissing sound … for her to shut up.  She continued as if she hadn’t heard a word.  She was in a state of frenzy, on the edge of hysteria getting closer to completely losing control at any moment. 

I heard  a smacking sound like a whip cracking.  Things quieted down briefly.  Then I heard her whimpering.  continuing … 

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